Almost Timely News, 29 August 2021: Proactive and Reactive Content, Supply Chains, LinkedIn Algorithm

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Almost Timely News: Proactive and Reactive Content, Supply Chains, LinkedIn Algorithm

Almost Timely News

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What’s On My Mind: Reactive and Proactive Content Creation

What kind of content creator are you? I view content creation through one of two lenses, reactive and proactive.

A proactive creator is what we tend to think of when we think of content creation. You sit down at your keyboard or your notepad, the vast, empty expanse before you, and you start creating. You write, you draw, you paint, you compose – where there was nothing, now there is something. Your ideas come through pure, unblemished, exactly as you envisioned in your mind’s eye.

A reactive creator is someone who needs an input to do the same. Someone asks a question. A situation happens at work. A post passes by as you thumb through your feeds on your phone. Whatever it is, like a spark landing in a pile of tinder, once alight, your creative powers engage and content emerges from the ashes.

To be clear, neither type of creator is better than the other. The end product is content, hopefully good. Each is just a different process for getting to the destination. And we can be either kind of creator on any given day. Some days, we’re inspired, other days, we need something to bounce off of. But generally speaking, we tend to have a higher level of comfort with one or the other.

Here’s where this distinction matters: if the content creation situation is a mismatch for your predisposition.

A proactive creator put in a reactive situation is going to be endlessly frustrated. They’ll say, I don’t want to be answering other people’s questions or responding to X influencer’s blog post! Just leave me alone and let me do my thing!. They would find always being reactive, never getting to channel their ideas purely to be incredibly aggravating.

A reactive creator put in a proactive situation is going to be paralyzed by the empty page. They’ll say, What do you mean, just create something? Create what? What does the audience want to know about? What problems are we trying to solve? What’s the angle here? The blank page, with nothing to light that spark, is less a canvas and more a prison.

I lean very heavily towards reactive content creation. I thrive in Q&A, in answering questions, in reading about something that leads me down a rathole of interesting side explorations. It’s where I’m happiest. When I create presentations or trainings for people, I always ask for that spark, that list of questions people have as a jumping off point. I need that mental racquetball match to bring out my best.

Can I create from the blank page? Yes. Is it my best work? Not on the first attempt, no – and possibly never, because that’s not how I work best. Put me on stage in a fireside chat with questions, or give me an hour of presentation time with only 20 minutes of presenting and 40 minutes of Q&A, and I’ll deliver my best work. I know this about myself, and to succeed, I try to put myself in the situations that work for me.

What works for you?

If you, or someone you manage, doesn’t know what kind of creation they’re best at, then you run the risk of languishing in the wrong environment, in the wrong situation. You’re planting a shade-loving plant in direct sun, putting an animal used to noise in deafening silence, creating an environment that stifles instead of supports.

Make sure you know what you are and where you flourish best.

Bonus Thing On My Mind: BDI

Supply chains are going haywire. The third largest port in China, Ningbo, remains closed due to a COVID-19 outbreak. The Panama Canal is closing for two weeks for maintenance. 65% of the US workforce is looking to change jobs. Add this all up and you have supply chain hell, which we see in the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of how much it costs to buy cargo container space on a boat:

BDI chart

What does this mean?

  • If you need things shipped in Q4, ship sooner than later, because who the heck knows when it will get there.
  • As a consumer, do your holiday shopping now. Don’t be the parent who orders a gift the day after Thanksgiving and finds out it won’t be delivered until February.

I bought a snowblower last month. Why? Because when I need it this winter, I’m pretty certain it won’t be available. Stay ahead of supply chain problems – order early and stock up before any crunches hit what you need.

Share With a Friend or Colleague

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to suggest only one of these articles to read from this week on the blog, it would be a tie this week. The piece on content marketing is an important meta-strategy that you have to get right if you want your content to be any good. However, the episode of So What? on LinkedIn has four valuable tips for how to make LinkedIn work for you. So… try both, if you have time.

Skill Up With Free Classes

These are just a few of the free classes I have available over at the Trust Insights website that you can take.

Thank You Notes

These are the places you’ve had or mentioned me – on your podcast, on your blog, in your newsletter. Thank you!

What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

Social Media Marketing

Media and Content

SEO, Google, and Paid Media

Ad: The Marketing AI Conference

Want to get a jump start on learning how to pilot AI in your marketing? Join me at the third almost-annual (thanks, pandemic) Marketing AI Conference, MAICON 2021. Hear from folks actually implementing AI in everyday marketing. I’ll be presenting a session on the basics of natural language processing.

Register here and use discount code TRUSTINSIGHTS20 for 20% off »

Want to get more of a sense of some of the topics? Watch this livestream I did with Marketing AI Institute Chief Growth Officer Cathy McPhillips on YouTube:

Fireside Chat with Cathy McPhillips

Tools, Machine Learning, and AI

Analytics, Stats, and Data Science

All Things IBM

Ad: Create Better Content with AI

Does content marketing take too much time? Do you find yourself struggling to meet deadlines and still produce the quality of content needed to attract and win audiences? MarketMuse’s AI-powered content creation software combines cutting edge natural language processing with a user-friendly interface to dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to produce great content. Research, outline, and even get machine-made first drafts that rank well in SEO and answers users’ questions.

Try MarketMuse free for 7 days, no credit card required »

Good Reads, Long Reads, Interesting Stuff

Fun, Games, and Entertainment

Economics, Politics, Environment, and Society

Ad: How to Prove the ROI of your Marketing Agency

I put together a brand new talk on how agencies could use data-driven marketing as a way to showcase their value and real results they obtain. In it, you’ll learn the 5 steps agencies must take to be more valuable to its clients. For folks on the client side, these are the things you should expect of your agencies, things you should ask for when agencies are pitching you. Agencies not doing these things will not serve you as well as they could. There’s obviously a lot more detail, so go ahead and watch the talk now.

Watch the talk now by filling out this form »

How to Stay in Touch

Let’s make sure we’re connected in the places it suits you best. Here’s where you can find different content:

Events I’ll Be At

Here’s where I’m speaking and attending. Say hi if you’re at an event also:

  • MAICON, September 2021, virtual, register here and use discount code TRUSTINSIGHTS20 for 20% off
  • MarTech East, September 2021, virtual
  • Content Marketing World, September 2021, Cleveland, OH
  • MarketingProfs B2B Forum, October 2021, virtual
  • HELLO Conference, October 2021, New Jersey

Events marked with a physical location may become virtual if conditions and safety warrant it.

If you’re an event organizer, let me help your event shine. Visit my speaking page for more details.

Can’t be at an event? Stop by my private Slack group instead, Analytics for Marketers.

Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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